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Bachmann LNER J11

Paul Johnson.
Bachmann J11 0-6-0 no 64311 in BR black unlined early crest cat no 31-319
This is a medium 0-6-0, the type of goods loco built in many thousands to various designs between all the different UK railway companies, which plodded around largely unremarked and earned a huge proportion of the railway’s revenue moving the UK’s freight traffic. Bachmann have embarked on what looks like a programme to give us a better spread of models of these types, following many years in which 0-6-0s were represented in their range by two grouping period examples only (Collett 2251, Gresley J39), and this model follows the MR 3F, MR/LMS 4F and SECR C class, and shows some improvements as their experience with making this type of loco has expanded. Looks right compared to photos, and measurement of the key dimensions shows these to be good. There is full daylight between the boiler and the frame tops, thanks to a careful drive line arrangement concealed in the firebox.
Right up to scratch here, all the practical external detail for 4mm is present. There isn’t much of it however as it’s a very plain design! The cab interior though, has just about everything painted up, and under the boiler barrel there’s a representation of the valve gear rods, which an enthusiast can paint grubby red if they choose to. The glazing, paint and numbers all very neatly applied;.
On the tender the brake shoes are aligned to the wheel tyres which is better than the previous 0-6-0 tenders. The cast coal can easily be lifted out, and the top of the coal slide is revealed, real coal will look so much better here. There’s the neat screw secured spacing slide on this model which allows the owner to set loco to tender separation: if your layout curves allow it positioning this so that the neat hinging fall plate rests on the rear of the cab floor further enhances appearance. It will run on a 30” radius like this, not sure how much smaller a curve radius is possible.
As received it immediately ran well enough. The pick-up wipers well set up for full contact, and it ran smoothly from dead slow in both directions immediately. It was quiet but pulling power was limited until I did two things; took the cast coal load off the tender, and eased the tender axle wipers to very light contact. That ‘released the brakes’. This done forty wagons or half a dozen coaches were no trouble at all, and this is the normal load for a loco of this power classification.
This model was fitted with the Lenz Silver21 decoder in the tender socket, excellent performance.
Two screws release the loco body for servicing the mechanism, It was greased tidily where it needed to be, A little regular oiling on the crankpins will be all the maintenance this model needs for many years in my opinion.
These were well liked locos, reckoned to be ‘strong’ in the language used at the time of their introduction, essentially perceived to be able to punch above their weight; and the model definitely gets that chunky and reliable workhorse appearance. Any steam layout needs an 0-6-0 or three, so here’s another good candidate.
Overall ranking
10. Really nothing to complain about, good all around model. Already bought another, same comments apply.

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